Contact - Bravo 22 Company in Buckinghamshire

After the success of the first Bravo 22 Company project in 2012, the Legion extended the programme and Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, the Legion and Buckinghamshire Armed Forces Community Covenant, partnered in the first regional project.

Bravo 22 Company’s Buckinghamshire Legacy Project, started in November 2014, was opened to all wounded, injured and sick Service personnel, and in a difference to the first project, it was extended to include veterans, Reservists, Service family members and those transitioning into civilian life.

Its objective was to improve self-awareness, confidence, self-esteem and motivation; along with creating a new military family for those involved.

As well as acting roles, Bravo 22 Company were delighted to offer company members the opportunity to work backstage with LAMDA, the London Academy of Dramatic Art, who delivered training in stage management, lighting and sound (including placements in West End theatres) for those who were interested in doing something behind the scenes.

A new play, Contact, was written by Roz Wyllie based on the experiences of the 26 company members and another 20 participants from the Buckinghamshire Armed Forces Community who gave stories on their experiences of the Armed Forces.

The project's aim was to raise awareness and understanding among the civilian community within Buckinghamshire of what life is like for the Armed Forces Community.

Company members ranged in age from 15 to 89, and were made up of 11 WIS & veterans, 2 Reservists, 7 Service family members, 2 cadet instructors, 3 Serving personnel and 1 actor (who due to his experience with Bravo 22 Company has now joined the Royal Marines). This combination produced over 160 years of Service between them with all but four members having no prior acting experience.

"I’m not part of a company, we're not a company, we're a family. I've gained a family, that's how it feels." Company member

We were delighted to have Stephen Rayne, director of The Two Worlds of Charlie F, return to direct Contact, and to welcome Roz Wyllie as writer of the play. Alice Driver, the creator of Bravo 22 Company oversaw the project.

Performed at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre's Second Space from 26 to 28 March 2015, the production of Contact was seen by 550 audience members, with the project receiving coverage on Sky News, BBC South Today, Forces TV, BFBS and in the Daily Star.

Bravo 22 Company are delighted with the outcome of its first regional legacy project, and would like to thank our partners and all those involved who made the project possible. The two plays - The Two Worlds of Charlie and Contact - have now been seen by over 35,550 people and we look forward to our next project at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.

We're keen to share our experiences with the community and particularly with educational groups and have made the following resources available. 

"I never got to see Charlie F, so I had no idea what this was going to turn out like, and I’m frankly staggered at the professionalism, the standard of performances, the passion, the emotion behind it. Plus I gather that technically it was faultless, and we need a hand for those guys. I have to say I’m very proud to be the Queen’s representative at this event, very well done. "
Sir Henry Aubrey Fletcher, Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire

how people reacted

"The performance was superb and throughout I recognised personal incidents be it with my mates or at times how I was personally behaving after an op; all the issues, arguments, and actions. Anything we can do that gets us talking about this is phenomenal, in every facet. Moreover, I loved how it dealt with the heroes at home that have to deal with everything while we are away. It’s the worst kept secret in the military that we enjoy our time on ops while sometimes it is awful in the main it is actually good fun. However, at home, it’s only ever hard."
Audience member

"The performance perfectly highlighted the challenges and stresses of military life on the family. From my side, I am proud and humbled to be part of it."
Station Commander Adrian Burns, RAF Halton

"The Bucks’ Forces Legacy Project can proudly be seen as a highlight in Aylesbury Waterside Theatre’s history. Theatre is a place where people are equal and where stories can be told in a way that is creative but also extremely powerful, and this project demonstrated that perfectly. Bravo 22 Company’s production, Contact, evolved from a life-changing project that we were incredibly privileged to be part of, and that we hope will remain a positive experience for all those involved. The process gave a voice to the Bucks’ Military Community and served an enriching purpose giving audience members an honest insight into the effects of Service life upon military personnel and their families.”
Elizabeth Adlington, Area Theatre Manager, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

“This is unique theatre. A truly powerful and moving production that brought me to tears. The cast, script and whole show was excellent.”
Audience member

“I gained confidence – people are in the same boat as you, people with problems here, so that gives you confidence, knowing that you’re not alone.”
Company member

“Before the project I rarely interacted with people, I tended to shy away from large gatherings. After plucking up the courage to go along, I found it an uplifting thing to do, the experience of leaving my comfort zone was difficult but during the project it became easier.”
Company member

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